By definition, longevity means “long life”. We all use the term and speak candidly about wanting to live to an older age, but are we taking the necessary steps to improve our overall health? Better yet, how often do we think about or prioritize our personal longevity as we go about our daily lives? Let that sink in for a second…
Regardless of your answers to the above questions, it’s never too late to start making your longevity a priority. Why? Our life expectancy isn’t solely determined by our genetics. We are empowered with control over certain factors—such as diet and lifestyle choices—that can help us become healthier, feel better overall, and even increase healthspan.
So, where do you begin? Below are some of our tips to living longer and (surprise!) becoming a healthier you.
It’s no surprise that what you eat determines how you feel and can dictate your overall health. Ideally, your focus should be primarily on three main categories: 1) Produce, 2) High quality protein, and 3) Healthy carbs and fats.
How do you know if you’re getting enough of the three main categories? A good practice is to eat as many colors of fruits and vegetables daily as possible. Antioxidants play an important role in managing longevity pathways. For example, lutein and zeaxanthin, members of the carotenoid family, are found together in foods like Swiss chard and kale and have been shown to help protect eye health (in supplement form at higher doses, they can even slow AMD, diabetic retinopathy, and cataracts). By striving to eat different colored produce, you’ll be receiving different antioxidants. Give yourself a goal of four different colors of produce each day.
High-quality proteins can come in the form of lean meats (chicken, turkey, red meat, and beef), fish, and eggs. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are good sources of healthy carbohydrates. Healthy fats include avocado, nuts, cheese, and dark chocolate, to name a few.
Lastly, you’ll want to avoid trans fats, processed foods, and refined sugar as much as you can. A few common examples of foods to avoid are high fructose corn syrup, margarine, and fast food. You’ll also avoid oxidized oils, which are found in processed foods and contain free radicals.
Yes, it does matter! Sleep impacts your body’s levels of inflammation, which has been linked to aging. Consistent, quality sleep can reduce your body’s oxidative stress. Additionally, beyond catching some quality zzz’s, decreasing oxidative stress can improve mood, energy levels, and digestion.
There are some lifestyle changes that you can implement immediately, at little to no cost. The biggest priority or experts recommend is keeping and resetting your circadian rhythm to help increase your overall quality of sleep. This can be done by sticking to a specific sleep schedule, including a routine wake up cycle.
Another way to maintain your circadian rhythm is to strive to get at least 30 minutes of bright daylight exposure every day. This supports natural circadian rhythm and can improve your body’s hormonal response. We tend to spend most of our workday, and often free time, in front of screens, too, so our experts recommend avoiding blue light after sunset.
Similarly to sleep, stress also influences our body’s inflammation levels. In fact, studies have shown that people who have mindful meditative practices that are used to manage stress daily have much lower levels of inflammation than those who don’t. Chronic stress can take a serious toll on not only your happiness, but your overall health and longevity. It can lead to high glucose levels, weight gain, and reduced white blood cell count, which can impair your immune system.
How can you decrease stress? Allot yourself time each day to complete one of the following activities, to center and reconnect yourself: gratitude journaling, practicing body awareness, grounding, stretching, prayer/meditation, or mindful eating. You’ll be able to determine what works best for you, allowing you to integrate a new stress management technique into your daily routine. Small steps can make a world of difference.
Don’t see something you love or might have an interest in? Check out other stress-reducing tips here.
Routine exercise can help reduce your risk of key mortality factors and even increase your life expectancy. Ideally, aim for 4-5 times a week of moderate physical activity. This can include weight training, power walking, cycling, and aerobic activities. If you’re finding it difficult to prioritize exercise, try to get in 15 minutes each day of balancing exercises, stretching, or power walking. Grab a partner or group of others to join you!
Prescriptions & Supplements
Sometimes we’re unable to reach our full potential on our own. You may seek supplements and/or prescription treatments to help achieve goals that you’d be unable to achieve naturally, or to add layers of protection to an already solid lifestyle plan.
Longevity benefits can be seen in scientific support for various supplements and prescription treatments, such as NAD+ and Metformin. If you’re considering these options, or any others, be sure to explore all available information and consult with a medical professional before beginning any new treatment.
If you’re unsure where to start or what you might need to focus on, give our FREE Personalized Wellness & Longevity Quiz a try. This assessment provides you with a comprehensive analysis of your longevity outlook, including details about your health and longevity status, how you compare to your peers, and will recommend personalized treatments and supplements.
Whether you’re up to implementing a few small changes to your daily routine, or are ready to go all in, there are many different routes you can take. Not only that, being more mindful of your diet and lifestyle choices can help you become an overall better, and healthier YOU.
To learn more about our FREE Personalized Wellness & Longevity Quiz, click here.